Vladimir Putin has defended Russian air strikes in Syria, which critics claim targeted moderate rebels instead of Islamic State (IS).
The Russian President alleged that claims of civilian casualties began “even before our planes got in the air”, insisting that the air strikes targeted only terrorists.
“When it comes to media reports regarding the suffering of the civilian population, we are ready for this information warfare,” Putin said. “Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we should not heed information like this.”
Syrian activists posted dramatic video on social media on Wednesday, showing what they said were Russian air strikes on areas held by anti-Assad forces not affiliated with IS.
Israeli couple killed in West Bank
A drive-by shooting in the West Bank has killed an Israeli couple. Emergency services said that the civilian couple aged in their mid-thirties were killed, and their four children aged between four months and nine years injured, while travelling between two Jewish settlements on Thursday evening. Tensions have risen between Israel and Palestine since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks at the United Nations yesterday.
Iran’s Hajj death toll hits 464
Iran has claimed that 464 of its citizens were killed in last week’s Hajj stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials have listed the official death toll as 769, with 934 injured; however, Iran and other countries including India and Pakistan have suggested that casualties may have been higher. An official breakdown of deaths by nationality has not yet been released.
Burkina Faso coup leader surrenders
The leader of last month’s coup in the West African nation of Burkina Faso is in custody after reportedly surrendering to a diplomatic mission in Ouagadougou. General Gilbert Diendere was behind the move which ousted Interim President Michel Kafando, who has since been reinstated following intervention from Burkina Faso’s neighbours. Diendere has described the coup, which left at least 10 dead and 100 injured, as “the biggest mistake”.
Nefertiti may be in Tut’s tomb
A British archaeologist believes the lost remains of Nefertiti may be buried in a hidden chamber recently revealed by high-resolution scans of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The University of Arizona’s Dr Nicholas Reeves said that the Egyptian queen, who ruled briefly alongside pharaoh Akhenaten and may later have become a pharaoh in her own right, was the original occupant of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Dr Reeves claims the boy king, who died at age 19, was hastily buried in Nefertiti’s tomb as his own had yet to be completed. – Compiled from web sources by Jake Nelson
Top image of a Russian air strike in Syria from Russian Ministry of Defence.